A TRAIN has been named after the late Newcastle and England football manager Sir Bobby Robson.
Sir Bobby’s widow Lady Elsie Robson and former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer officially named the Class 91 high-speed locomotive, the first East Coast train to be named after a person.
Shearer, a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: “It is an absolute honour and pleasure to officially name a high-speed East Coast train Sir Bobby Robson.
“He had a great sense of humour and he would have loved to have seen his name on the front of a train pulling everyone down to London.”
Lady Robson said Sir Bobby, a regular train traveller, would have been thrilled at the honour. She said: “I think my husband would be surprised and thrilled to have this train named after him.
“We’re also very grateful for the fundraising efforts of East Coast in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”
The Sir Bobby Robson Class 91 electric loco features cast-iron nameplates and will carry passengers between Newcastle and London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Passengers boarding the train yesterday morning after the official naming ceremony told of their pride at being the first to ride on Sir Bobby’s train.
Christine Goodfellow, 56, from Stannington, Northumberland, was boarding the train to London. She said: “It’s tremendous they are naming the train after such an iconic figure. Funnily enough I remember sitting opposite Sir Bobby on a train many years ago. He was a gentleman.”
Alistair McIntyre, 20, a Newcastle University student who was taking the train home to Peterborough, said: “I think its pretty cool that they’ve named the train after Sir Bobby. They name boats so why not trains – I think it’s a good idea.”
Elaine Holt, chairman of East Coast said: “Sir Bobby was loved by many of our staff, who remember him with great affection.”